One way of combating atherosclerosis is to reduce levels of “bad cholesterol” in the blood. Scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have now identified the genes that bring about this beneficial effect.
By now, everyone knows that overweight people have a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes and other problems that arise from clogged, hardened arteries. And people who carry their extra weight around their waist – giving them a “beer belly” or an “apple” shape — have the highest risk of all.But despite the impact on human health, the reasons behind this connection between heart disease and belly fat – also known as visceral fat — have eluded scientists. Now, a new study in mice gives the first direct evidence of why this link might exist – and a tantalizing look at how it might be broken.
Continue reading “The missing link between belly fat and heart disease?”
A new study done with mice has discovered that supplements of lipoic acid can inhibit formation of arterial lesions, lower triglycerides, and reduce blood vessel inflammation and weight gain – all key issues for addressing cardiovascular disease.
Although the results cannot be directly extrapolated beyond the laboratory, researchers report that “they strongly suggest that lipoic acid supplementation may be useful as an inexpensive but effective intervention strategy . . . reducing known risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis and other inflammatory vascular diseases in humans.”
Overweight people who lose a moderate amount of weight get an immediate benefit in the form of better heart health, according to a study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. And the heart improvements happen whether that weight is shed by eating less or exercising more.
University of Michigan scientists and their colleagues have helped characterize a previously unknown link in the chain of biochemical reactions implicated in some forms of heart disease.
The finding provides a new target for future drug therapies.
A diet rich in leafy vegetables may minimize the tissue damage caused by heart attacks, according to researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Their findings, published in the November 12 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that the chemical nitrite, found in many vegetables, could be the secret ingredient in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered that a group of liver enzymes called proprotein convertases (PCs) may be the key to raising levels of good cholesterol (HDL-C). The pathway by which these proteins are able to achieve an increase in HDL cholesterol involves another enzyme that normally degrades HDL-C, and was also discovered at Penn. The newly recognized relationship between these enzymes and cholesterol represents another target for ultimately controlling good cholesterol.
MIT researchers have developed a model that could predict how cells will respond to targeted drug therapies. Models based on this approach could help doctors make better treatment choices for individual patients, who often respond differently to the same drug, and could help drug developers identify the ideal compounds on which to focus their research.
In addition, the model could help test the effectiveness of drugs for a wide range of diseases, including various kinds of cancer, arthritis and immune system disorders, according to Douglas Lauffenburger, MIT professor of biological engineering and head of the department. Lauffenburger is senior author of a paper on the new model that will appear in the Aug. 2 issue of Nature.
A condition that has to be met for the body to be able to keep warm, move and even survive is that the mitochondria – the cells’ power stations – release the right amounts of energy. Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have now identified the first known factor that acts as a brake on cellular energy production.
Patients with type 2 diabetes may soon be able to control their glucose and their cholesterol levels with a single drug, according to a study led by Vivian A. Fonseca, professor of medicine and pharmacology at Tulane University School of Medicine and chief of the Tulane University Health Sciences Center Diabetes Program.
Although a number of studies have suggested that regular exercise reduces inflammation – a condition that is predictive of cardiovascular and other diseases, such as diabetes – it is still not clear whether there is a definitive link. And if such a link exists, the nature of the relationship is by no means fully understood.
A recent study by kinesiology and community health researchers at the University of Illinois provides new evidence that may help explain some of the underlying biological mechanisms that take place as the result of regular exercise.
Can adopting a healthier lifestyle later in life help — or is it too late? In a study published in the July 2007 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston found that people 45 to 64 years of age who added healthy lifestyle behaviors could substantially reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and reduce their death rate. Once these people achieved 4 healthy behaviors, eating at least 5 fruits and vegetables daily, exercising at least 2.5 hours per week, maintaining their Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 30 kg/m, and not smoking, investigators saw a 35% reduction in CVD incidence and a 40% reduction in mortality compared to people with less healthy lifestyles.